Some BBC bosses to be suspended

The fall-out over the phone-in deceptions at the BBC continue, with some BBC bosses likely to be suspended during internal reviews.

Serious editorial breaches were found in six shows – including public jewels Comic Relief and Children In Need – and the BBC has suspended all its TV and radio phone-related competitions.

Director-general Mark Thompson has outlined a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to future lapses in editorial judgement.

ITV executive chairman Michael Grade said there was an ‘epidemic’ in broadcasting that stretched beyond just the BBC. He was possibly referring to an ongoing ITV audit which may also unearth similar problems when its findings are revealed this autumn.

BBC Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons gave his backing to Mr Thompson, telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that he was ‘the right person to lead change’.

“He has responded to these very serious problems with energy,” he said. “We are backing the director general to do this, but suspend judgement until we have seen improvement.”

BBC One’s Sports Relief in July 2006, Comic Relief in March 2007, Children In Need on BBC Scotland in November 2005, The Liz Kershaw Show on BBC 6 Music and CBBC programme TMi were all found to have breached editorial standards.

All phone-related competitions on BBC TV and radio ceased from midnight on Wednesday, while interactive and online competitions will be taken down as soon as possible.

Mr Thompson has also ordered an independent inquiry into footage that wrongly implied the Queen walked out of a photo session.

NEW BBC MEASURES

All competitions suspended

All staff to be trained on safeguarding trust

Independent inquiry into the Queen documentary

Commissioning from the Queen documentary production company RDF suspended

Some editorial leaders asked to “stand back” from their duties

Contracts with staff and suppliers revised to emphasise editorial standards

ITV’s Michael Grade, himself a former chairman of the BBC, told BBC2’s Newsnight that every broadcaster in the UK was affected.

He said: “It’s partly to do with casualisation of the industry, people on short-term contracts under tremendous strain, tremendous pressure. Competitive pressure is enormous.”

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